URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Spurlock Museum visitors were guided through the “Sewn in Memory” exhibit Sunday. The collection displays quilt panels honoring people who died from HIV/AIDS in central Illinois.

The panels belong to the National Aids Memorial in Washington D.C., which commemorates over 100,000 people. They were made primarily in the 1980s and 90s at the height of the pandemic.

Greater Communtiy AIDS Project of East Central Illinois (GCAP) Mike Benner led Sunday’s tour. He said the public’s interest in the exhibit has been “overwhelming,” and that shows how many people here have been affected by the disease.

“Some people remember these people. They remember the early days of HIV/AIDS and it just brings back memories to them. Very bittersweet memories, but they’re still memories. There’s young people that have no idea what it was like,” Benner said.

He said it’s important to remember those who contracted HIV/AIDS before it was well-understood, and to be grateful for how things have changed. The exhibit will be open through July 10.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. You can find the hours of operation on their website. Admission is free, but they suggest a $3 donation to support the museum.